In 2008 The History Channel broadcast a fascinating documentary on the Little Ice Age entitled: Little Ice Age, Big Chill. The film interviews scientists and historians to outline the events that occurred seven centuries ago was a period of cataclysmic cold. The weather conditions during the Little Ice Age resulted in conditions where birds died while in flight, frigid storms multiplied, and snow falls occurred in July.
It is important to understand this historical event since it puts weather patterns seen today in context. The range of weather seen now is nothing compared to what happened during this time period and there is nothing unusual about weather events we are experiencing now.